Stay away from early escorts. Interference motor, pistons hit valves
when the timing belt breaks , not sure what years though. And i've
been told contours are nothing but money pits at high mileage. I had
a 2.3 mustang for my first car and it was easy to work on, tons around
the scrapyards for cheap parts. I would avoid the 3.8 cfi mustangs
though, my 86 never got better than 12 on the highway with a 3 speed
auto and a 2.73 rear. It always ran rich and I never could figure it
out (even with the ford shop books and a breakout box) . Beware of
cheap lincolns too, all the electric doo dads can get to be a real pain
when they get old. My current car is a 89 mk 7 and I've gotten to know
the evtm pretty well.
Michael Pardee wrote:
I would spend it on an Apple Mac. But I think you mean a car.
Older Ford Tauri may be good. Or a Contour. I have had very few problems
with my contour.
Another option is a certificate of deposit. Put the money in the bank for
say two years, take the bus or keep the old car going, and with the savings,
buy a new car in a few years. Where I live, I take the bus or train. Not
everyone has that option.
Hopefully your time on that car will be spent teaching not doing it for
Value for money...
A higher mileage well maintained, 95 up, 3.8L Tbird. One where the
headgaskets have been replaced. Great road car, cheap parts.. good mileage
You didnt mention WHAT kind of car... if a family car, look for a 95 Taurus
GL 3.0L, with AX4N (may be stamped SHO on pan) trans. Bet there's some
geezers finally getting rid of their well maintained 100 K mile cars... and
there's another 100k in it.
Easy to work on, a few quirks, like weak window motors but easy to fix
Yeh, I'm a Krusty old Geezer, putting up with my 'smartass' is the price
you pay..DEAL with it!
Best car I found for reliability, safety and ability to work on without
sophistocated testing gear were non turbo 240 Volvos. I can post this
because Ford now owns volvo. You should be able to find one for $1500. Red
block 4 cylinders go forever, come with sticks. The best IMO are 1987-1990
sedans and wagons. Biodegradable wiring had been replaced and they had not
gotten too complicated. If you want ABS and airbag need to to the later
models or 700 series. Those probably will run a little more than $1500.
Just my opinion. My kids had them and they were great, economical DIY cars.
a little bulk to back it up. (Mustang GT in a tuxedo) Mustang GT driveline with
and a rev limiter to hold it back a bit. $30K+ when new, $1500 all over now with
~100K+ miles. $450 for complete air suspension replacement, $50 for probable
repair, and son in law (and daughter??) will have a larger car, with ABS, SRS,
performance, and decent fuel mileage (20-28)that can last, with normal
to 300K miles.
If i had only 1500, i wouldn't get a ford, thats for sure. i'd get a
Honda Accord, or a Honda Civic 92-95, or a toyota corolla. i picked up
2000 corolla 5spd 4cylynder 242KMS on it for $2k for my brother.
I appreciate the info. My #2 son had an early Taurus that hadn't been
maintained, and that was a nightmare. I don't know what they are like
otherwise. I have only replaced alternator/regulator/battery (neither the
alternator nor the battery liked the regulator telling it to charge full
bore all the time) on a friend's Taurus. At least the parts were inexpensive
and easy to access.
And the Contour is off my list, based on other advice. Crown Vics are on the
I didn't know that! Friends and family had some bad experiences with earlier
Escorts, including an engine failure in a very early one (apparently Ford
had an unadvertised warranty program for that) and a friend had one with a
water pump that seized after the warranty had run out but the payments had
not. Her husband-to-be said there were pieces of valve seats embedded in the
Do you know when the big change occurred?
Could maybe add the escorts to your list. THey are a fairly reliable
car, and seem to last well, the rust gets them though. i'm talking late
escorts, 97-99. you should get one of them fairly cheap with around
160k mi on it. I _would_ get a 5 speed, (but what automatic doesn't
have transmission issues). Seems like after 160k mi, i prefer manuals
My one grandson bought one of those cheap Hondas. He thought that they
don't breakdown. He was wrong as well. In less than a year he has spend
more than he paid for the car, to keep it running. ;)
I used to own a 1982 Prelude... rusty & unreliable, underpowered,
*imaginative* engineering (CVCC Engine & 2-speed Hondamatic tranny)...
compared to my 5-speed 1979 Celica GT Coupe, it was a total POS. I won't
even compare that *thing* to my 351 '79 Tbird, or my current 1999 Grand
Could be worse, could be a Contour :)
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